Sunday, November 29, 2015

Studio Tiara "SEAHOLLY"


I'm a huge fan of Tiara's compositions, and will probably be making more covers of her songs in the future.

Continuing in the trend of trying to make all original images for my cover videos now, I again did all the artwork for this video. I originally had much more ambitious ideas for animation, but lacking actual specialized software put that on the back burner. Hopefully in the future!

Original by: Studio Tiara (

Artwork/Animation: Kyttyee // Papillon de Nuit

Feel free to use these lyrics/mp3 if you enjoyed them! Just please make sure to credit properly and include a link back to this video ^_^


Friday, November 27, 2015

Outfit: Grey Princess


Sweater: Urban Outfitters
Shirt: Gap
Skirt: Bodyline
Leggings: BonTon
Shoes: Converse


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ballet and Pointe Shoe Update


It's been a little while since the last time I talked about ballet, and it's not because I've been doing it less. In fact, I've been very busy with dance, and even tried a few auditions in the spring. I got to perform in the Ruth Page spring show with the other girls in the Waltz of the Hours from Coppelia, which was both terrifying and wonderful! Terrifying because it's a lot more pressure and expectation than UBallet shows, but wonderful because I've always wanted to have a chance to perform with the girls there. I'm happy I got to do it once before I moved away.

After coming to Madison, I've been finding various studios and groups that I feel comfortable with. I even auditioned for a couple of Nutcracker productions, and eventually chose to do the Verona Youth Ballet production. I'll be dancing in their version of Snow (set to the Snow Pas de Deux music rather than the Snow Waltz due to their being so few people in it), as well as dancing the lead role in the Marzipan divertissement!

I don't tend to take many photos in the studio, but I did a couple of quick snaps before one of my Nutcracker auditions. My motto is "Less is more" for audition settings, and usually just aim to have simple but very neat dress, hair, and makeup. I do like to add a bit of sparkle to my bun though, just as an eyecatching focal point.

Going into the audition venue, I try to wear something to keep me warm during waiting periods and while I'm warming myself up. Whoever thought ballerinas were chic is probably somewhat mistaken...

I've also found my current holy grail pointe shoe since my last ballet musings post. I went in for a fitting at Allegro in Evanston, IL, and was fitted with Russian Pointe Almaz. I never realized until I did this fitting that my problem with pointe shoes wasn't necessarily that they were too wide or too untapered, but that the crown of the box was too high for my foot. While I do have a fairly tapered toe are, the crucial point is that I need a low crown for the shoe to actually fit along my foot so I don't keep sliding into the front of the box. I've been loving my Almaz since I switched to them back in February or March, and hoping my feet won't change too much anytime soon!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mini LUSH Haul and Review


LUSH opened a store in Madison fairly recently (just this past summer), and I was pretty excited to take a wander through it, because I've always enjoyed shopping there. I've enjoyed some of their solid  shampoo and conditioner bars, and especially their massage bars for travel, because of the liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage.

I had found the remnants of an old massage bar, but I think it was so old that the fragrance had completely degraded. Unfortunately it smelled exactly like varnish, so I decided it was time to get something new.

I ended up walking out with a bar of the "Organic Therapy" massage bar, a small block of "Honey I Washed the Kids" soap, and a "Ceridwen's Cauldron" bath melt.

I've written up some thoughts regarding these items (and another soap) below, for those who haven't tried them and may be curious. I tend to have sensitive dry skin, so a lot of my focus in choosing body products is geared towards making sure they won't cause too much irritation or excessive dryness.


Organic Therapy Massage Bar  == Excellent!

"Organic Therapy" has a nice scent that's slightly spicy, slightly herbal, and not too sickly sweet. I usually enjoy sweet and floral scents, but in the form of massage bars, most of them make me feel a bit ill because they're too cloying. This one is nice because it smells good but isn't overly strong. The moisturizing power of the bar is just as I expected from their previous bars. It melts nicely after a few seconds of rubbing either between the hands or directly wherever you're trying to put it, and at least for me, the moisturizing effect lasts much longer than most regular lotions. I do prefer to use it before bed, so that it can sit overnight, because it does initially leave a film of old on the skin. If you're not a fan of that feeling, then these probably won't be the thing for you.

Honey I Washed the Kids Soap == Okay

I bought this soap because people mentioned that they liked how it worked on their sensitive skin. I often have issues (especially in colder, dryer seasons) with my skin getting extremely dry and irritated. The smell of this soap is delicious, it's like inhaling a caramel flan. I do appreciate that it has a sweet caramel smell, but it is not artificial and cloying like some "candy" scents can be. As for the soap itself, it is quite nice and worked fine for middle of summer, but I think it's still too stripping for my skin in autumn and winter. I hadn't read the ingredients carefully enough the first time, because I was just going off recommendations, but this soap *does* contain SLS, which is the main stripping ingredient. While it is lower on the list than some of LUSH's other soaps, it is still pretty prominent. As much as I love the scent, I probably wouldn't buy this soap again for regular bathing use.

Ceridwen's Cauldron == TBD

I also bought "Ceridwen's Cauldron" because it was mentioned as being really good for moisturizing and soothing sensitive skin. I'm not generally a big bath person, as I don't generally have time and just never really grew up with that sort of habit. However, I thought this one might be a nice one to try this winter if I want a bath to warm up or something. The ingredients in this look promising, particularly the oatmeal, which I have found to be a good skin soother, so I look forward to trying this out.

Sultana of Soap == Very Good

After I finished "Honey I Washed the Kids," I returned to LUSH to try another of their soaps. I did pay more attention to my research this time, and concluded that the only two of their regular soaps that do *NOT* contain SLS are "Sultana of Soap" and "Figs and Leaves." After sniffing both soaps, I went with "Sultana" because I liked the scent a little more. It's supposed to look like a fruit nougat, which it sort of does. The scent to me smells like sweetened baby powder, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences. I don't mind it, and the soap really is very moisturizing and cleansing without leaving my skin with that squeaky stripped feeling like most other soaps do. I forgot to take a photo of the raw block, but it basically looks like the way it does now but with sharp edges.

The one thing I'm not liking so much about "Sultana" as I'm nearing the end of the block is that the little fruit and nut bits in it are actually fruits and nuts embedded in the soap. So now I end up leaving some soap detritus in the bathtub that I need to clean up after I shower. I think when I finally run out, I'll give the "Figs and Leaves" soap a try.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

From the Sketchbook


Just working on some pretty sparkly things~


Friday, November 13, 2015

Lolita Blog Carnival: 3 Favorite Brands and Why


This week in the Lolita Blog Carnival, we've been asked to talk about our favorite brands and why we like them. I think the answer to this question is always heavily tied to what aesthetics define Lolita for each person individually, as well as how and in what context they wear Lolita fashion. Because everyone has different tastes and different circumstances, we can see a variety of answers!

The particular aesthetic that most coincides with my personal feeling of being a Lolita is a sweet-classic feel. It's like tiptoeing the line between sweet and classic, where it is not too mature, but also still has a sense of elegance and demureness to it. While I adore looking at intricate prints, and I can appreciate the artwork that goes into them, a lot of my personal preference lies towards more solid-color designs or simpler floral and other all-over prints, rather than border prints. I also tend to prefer a more simplistic approach to accessories, partly because I prefer that look on myself, and also because I get irritated when I have too many objects hanging about me.

While I naturally tend towards a more toned-down aesthetic, the way I dress is also influenced by the fact that I consider Lolita to be part of my everyday wardrobe. While I do tend to go more elaborate for special occasions, meetups, conventions, etc., most of the time I'm wearing Lolita to do mundane things like running errands and going about the neighborhood or my apartment. Thus, I tend to put together my daily outfits with practicality (and sometimes speed of dressing) being primary factors.

With those things in mind, let's talk about my three favorite Lolita brands!


I am at heart always and forever an Innocent World girl, right from the beginning of my Lolita days. The brand aesthetic is exactly the balance of sweet and classic that I hold in my mind as my personal image of Lolita. My very first brand piece was a carousel print JSK from Innocent World, and it is still one of my favorite pieces.

I own a lot of pieces from Innocent World, and every one of them I would consider to be high quality. They use good fabrics with a nice feel and appropriate drape, and as far as I can tell the construction is solid. The printed pieces have crisp imaging, and I've yet to encounter any issues with running or color transfer.

Quality aside, what really draws me to this brand is the abundance of simple but elegant designs. Of course, as with any brand, they offer a range of very elaborate to more wearable pieces. But overall, they tend to have very clean and simple cuts with some frills and lace embellishments, but not so many as to be overwhelming. In general, I feel like their cuts and the shapes of their silhouettes tend to have a slightly more mature girly feel, which gives even their sweeter print designs still a feeling of elegance.

Much of my IW collection consists of solid designs rather than prints, but something that I really like about their prints is the "old fairytale book illustration" feeling that the artwork tends to have. It's not really so much sugary cute, as just rather charming and quaint. Illustrations along the lines of the original Beatrix Potter books, or Alice in Wonderland share that type of feeling.

The most representative piece of what I love about IW is the Viennese Waltz Frill JSK. The artwork is charmingly cute, but done in more muted colors that lend it a more mature feel. While high-waisted cuts can be childish, this particular shape retains a sense of elegance. The small frill details express a certain princessy or doll-like aesthetic, but are not so overly bold as to take away from the simplicity of the piece.


Baby's aesthetic tends towards the sweeter, more princessy side of the sweet-classic spectrum, but still captures the feeling I love. In particular, I am a fan of their non-print, floral and all-over print designs. My first Baby piece was the Blooming Snow White JSK.

While they do put out many print-focused pieces, especially more recently, they do a good job of balancing that with non-print designs and staple wardrobe pieces.

One thing that I especially like about their prints is that they often follow themes drawn from literature and fairytales. I always gravitate towards those subjects and find them very hard to resist. I am also fond of many of their older print designs, such as their Swan Lake print, Music Salon print, and their Alice and the Fawn print.

My signature piece from Baby is the Dessert OP. This is a design they've re-released almost yearly with minor variations in lace and details, and I would eventually like to have it in lavender, black, and pink as well. The design is cute and princess-liky, but not overly childish. The fabric is beautiful with a dot texture that adds interest, and the lace is beautiful and plush. It embodies my favorite aspects of Baby's non-print designs, in which complexity comes from details in the design (fabric, pintucks, lace, ruffles, layers, tiers), rather than elaborate prints.


My third favorite brand is not strictly a Lolita brand. and as such most of their pieces are not designed with Lolita fashion in mind. In fact, they tend to distance themselves from Lolita, preferring to be labeled an otome brand. That said, because I do prefer something a bit simpler than some other Lolitas, quite a number of their pieces fit quite well in my personal Lolita aesthetic. Especially when practicality comes into play, and giant petticoats are not always appropriate, ETC dresses and skirts with a moderate petticoat fit in perfectly.

My favorite thing about ETC is their quirky prints, with sometimes unusual themes. Because they are not a Lolita brand, and don't really care to follow the goings-on in Lolita trends and such, they actually tend to stand out for me. For example, they don't usually line up with Lolita brands in terms of print themes, and the illustration style is also different. I would described it as part children's book, part old-timey fairytale. It shares that sort of antique charm that IW illustrations have, but usually brighter and more bold.

Another area where they stand out for me is with their really nice designs for wardrobe fillers and accessories. I always like their cardigan and cutsew designs, which would be perfect for everyday wearers in terms of comfort and being not too loud or outlandish. They also have very cute coats and hats, which I would very much like to own some of one day.

My favorite piece that I own from ETC is the Victoria Music OP. It has one of my favorite print themes, music! The artwork exemplifies the all-over prints they do, and the streamlined high-waist cut of the piece is one commonly seen in ETC's OPs and JSKs.


Of course I have pieces that I love from many other brands as well, but these three are my top three in terms of matching my own Lolita aesthetic as well as fitting into my wardrobe for wearing Lolita fashion on a daily basis.

Please visit the other blogs in the Lolita Blog Carnival who participated in this topic!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Autumn Woods


With all of the leaves turning pretty colors, autumn is one of my favorite times of the year to walk through the woods. The mosquitoes and gnats are no longer around to be a nuisance, and there's just so much pretty scenery to look at and enjoy.

A+ and I took a bit of a wander together out on the lake outcropping near our apartment. It's a really lovely area with a lot of little paths going through all the trees interspersed with fields of flowers. I think the carpet of fallen leaves makes them especially nice to walk through.

The past week or so has quite a few windy days, and along with the general rotting season, there were a lot of fallen trees in the area. This particular tree fell in a very interesting manner, and is now precariously perched.

The main path goes through the middle of the peninsula area, but the side paths go much closer to the lake. It's quite pretty seeing it glimmering through the trees as you're walking.

The tree colors seem to vary in patches, with some areas being very orange, while others are very red. This area was particularly yellow, as far as the eye can see.

We took our walk just in time for sunset, which is always pretty to watch over the lake in any season.

It's also about the time when people start showing up to make use of the various firepit areas in the area. This one is particularly large and finished, which is nice, but I think I prefer the smaller ones that just have simple logs for seating. Those just feel a bit more rustic and woodsy to me.

On our way back, I spotted a brave patch of flowers still blooming in the mostly-withered fields. Don't they look so bright and cheery?

A lot of the trees that turned earlier are now bare, so the pretty colors will probably be gone in another couple of weeks as winter approaches. But winter has its own sort of beauty too! It's my favorite season, after all <3


Friday, November 6, 2015

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wintering the Garden


As the nights have been getting colder, most of the plants in the garden have been succumbing to the frost. We've had a pretty good run for the season, so it was time to prepare the garden for wintering over!

Because the garlic was so successful last year, we decided to plant some more for this winter. Hopefully they'll grow as well as the last batch! We planted the cloves in the front bed, and simply pulled out or dug up the withered plants in the other beds. The chard was especially difficult to pull up. I had no idea they had such gigantic root systems. The first one I pulled out looked a bit like some sort of cephalopod with its long tentacles!

We left the peas still growing in the other front bed because they survive frost quite well and are still producing at this stage. It's actually gone back to being unseasonably warm, so I think those will keep growing for awhile yet. These late-season peas don't seem quite as sweet as the summer ones, but they're still delicious and crisp!

The last step was to just cover the empty beds with leaf mulch to try to keep the weeds from growing too quickly when spring comes around again. The raspberry patch in the back has gone a bit wild, so I think some pruning will be in order next year to keep everything in check. Weeding around spiky things is difficult...

Other garden plots around us have more cold-weather crops than we did, so there's still quite a lot of greenery growing in the general garden area. I'm always especially impressed by the bok choi plot that one of our neighbors has going on.

A lot of other gardens also have many autumn squash varieties ready for harvest. I love how cute the little decorative squashes look, although I wonder sometimes if they're any good for eating. Probably not, although these very round ones might have more edible parts than the spindly ones.

Even with the unusually warm weather, the leaves have been turning gradually. The colorful treescapes are among my favorite things about autumn, and it's so pretty living near wooded areas this time of year.